As I mentioned last week, we are finally making substantive progress on replacing the bridge on State Highway 47 south of Glen, Minn. During my visit to the work site today, I was pleased to see the first truck load of asphalt arrive and paving begin.
Asphalt work should complete later today. Center/fog line safety striping and guard rail installation are next. Then the road closed signs come down.
This week I attended a half day introduction to the Bridges of Hope Advance Program. The Advance Program is designed to work with families involved with Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS). The objective is to reduce where appropriate out of home placements of children.
The Advance Program is a comprehensive two-month parent education and mentoring program with parallel support for the children. The program was developed cooperatively under the leadership of Amy Wyant at Bridges of Hope over the past year.
Those cooperating entities included Crow Wing County Family Services, Crow Wing County Attorney’s Office, 9th Judicial District Court System, YMCA, Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union, and many other government and non-government entities that deal with families involved in CHIPS situations.
Of special significance is the involvement of mentors with first-hand experience with the child protection system. The involvement of individuals that have successfully overcome addiction and the emotional issues that brought them into contact with child protection services provides real world examples of what is possible.
The first Advance Program series will comment early in 2020. The model once proven may be suited for application in other communities across Minnesota. To all involved thank you.
Also this week Aitkin Mayor Tibbitts hosted a community meeting at City Hall to discuss the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. The center segment between Deerwood and Riverton was recently completed. Once complete the Cuyuna Lakes Trail will connect Aitkin to the Paul Bunyan State Trail at Brainerd.
The meeting was well attended with officials from Aitkin and Crow Wing County, DNR, IRRRB, area chambers, user groups, as well as interested citizens. Developing an early line of communication is critical, as this trail segment involves both Aitkin and Crow Wing County.
The first step involves moving from concept to identifying a preferred trail corridor. Once the communities involved have identified the primary user base and an appropriate corridor, then design work and cost estimates are in order.